Malewezi calls for ‘level playing field’ for Malawi elections

Former vice-President in Malawi, Justin Malewezi has said that all the political parties should be provided with level playing field in the next year’s three-tier elections.

Malewezi said an un-fair advantage that ruling parties have over other parties during an election can potentially undermine the credibility of the electoral process.

Malawi is scheduled to hold tripartite elections in May 2014 when voters will elect a president, members of Parliament and ward councillors.

Malewezi hit out at political parties in power blaming them for the flawed and sometimes disputed elections results.

Malewezi: Hits at political parties in power
Malewezi: Hits at political parties in power

In his research paper, Malewezi said the major challenge is that ruling parties most often abuse public resources, including the public media while political parties in the opposition are left to fend for themselves.

He said the trend has unfortunately left Malawi without having what could be said as free and fair elections.

Malewezi served as the first multi-party vice-President from 1994 to 2004 when he deputized Bakili Muluzi.

“Levelling the playing field during campaign period is the main principle in a fair election, but experience has shown that since 1993, the party in government has taken advantage of incumbency status to monopolise public resources and public media,” argues Malewezi.

He said this is contrary to what the Constitution says about use of state resources for campaigning purposes by a particular party.

“On the other hand the Executive needs to carry out legitimate government functions even during the campaign period. The problem is that te boundary line between legitimate government functios and campaigns activities is so thin that it is invisible,” added Malewezi.

The former vice President presented his findings during a two-day conference to assess the state of preparedness for the country’s first tripartite elections.

The conference was jointly organised by the National Initiative for Civic Education (Nice), the Civic and Political Space Platform (CPSP) and the Institute for Policy Interaction (IPI).

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